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SJMS students embrace wide range of art opportunities

By Clint Thomas, Metro Reporter
Pictured left right are Stonewall Jackson Middle School students Shia Johnson, Nola Todd, Tori Barone, Talayah Boxley, SJMS Art instructor Danielle Hunt, Sydnee Parker, Maya Cummings, Tori Todd and Kamani Easley. Courtesy photo

Students at Stonewall Jackson Middle School on Charleston’s West Side have been artistically active and pervasively creative during the current academic year.

Starting in September, SJMS students took part -- and placed -- in the St. Albans Arts Festival.

The following month, eighth-grade student Lorenia Baire entered the Children’s Theatre of Charleston’s poster contest for its production of “The Jungle Book.”

“Lorenia beat out all middle and high school students to have her work chosen to be the representative work for their play,” said SMJS Art teacher Danielle Hunt.

Students Nola Todd, Karissa White and Talayah Boxley spent November crafting an ornament for the Christmas tree that was displayed at the state Capitol during the holiday season. “This is the third year our school has participated,” Hunt said.

“In January and February, a select group of students was given the opportunity to come up with a design for a contest held by Capitol Market, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the market,” she said. “The students had to come up with a design that incorporated the past and present day of the market. Students visited the market and came up with original designs.”

SJMS’ Maya Cummings placed second in the contest; her work is represented on a permanent mural at Capitol Market. Classmate Shawn Stewart created an original design he submitted on his own, and his artwork won the third-place award. Asia Davis of Poca High School won first place in the student contest.

Last month, several SJMS students had work chosen for display for Arts Alive! 2017, which opens Friday, April 28, at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences.

Even more of their artwork can be viewed this week. More than 75 creations by approximately SJMS students will be displayed through Friday at the annual Kanawha County Schools Art Show at the Charleston Civic Center.

SJMS students will also have a predominant presence during Charleston’s FestivALL celebration in June.

“SJMS will be displaying at numerous events during FestivALL. They will have a pop-up shop at The Art Store downtown that will display around 50 pieces of student work. Proceeds will benefit our art program and go towards our program. Art will also be on display during this event at the Clay Center and The Charleston Town Center,” Hunt said.

“Many of the students here are very talented. They enjoy and immerse themselves in creative opportunities. Given the expectations, they far exceed them,” she said.


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